tv Beyond the Headlines KOFY September 6, 2014 7:00pm-7:31pm PDT
welcome to "beyond the headlines. today's show is about the importance of mentoring in young people's lives who are tured around because of the positive influence of their mentors. young people who have mentors have a better chance of succeeding and are more likely to make positive choices throughout their lives. abc 7 morning news co-anchor kristen zee moderated one of the paneldiscussions at the young women's summit in october. the day-long summit offered young women professional guidance, networking tips and personal mentoring. lieutenant governor gaf o or gi newsom's wife gave the keynote address. the event was free to students 17 to 23 and aput on by the
professional businesswomen of california. the largest and oldest, most effective yoh mentoring organization in the united states is big brothers big sisters, the bay area chapter was founded in 1958 and covers alameda, couldn't san francisco mateo counties. joining me is the organization's ceo kathy bella and chair of the board of directors tom kaiser. kathy, i want to start with you. >> thank you. >> why is mtoring so important? >> well, i think meantoring is important for both the mentes and our meantors. or us, we serve children who are really going through some very tough straits. most of our kids come from low-income families. about 90% of tem come from single parent or guardian households. and a significant portion of them have an incarcerat
parent. so they're living thrgh very challenging times. they're living in tough nghborhoods often. and there are lots just daily challenges in terms of navigating all of the intricacies of live. >> how many chdren do you serve? >> we serve 1,000 kids through the fi county area. for our ki meant rg really makes a difference. we've seen it through the personal stories that are shared when we talk with our matche we call them matches, as well as all of the metrics that we follow in term f the impact that our program has had. it's a very simple program. our mentors spend a minimum of two adventures or encounters a month with our littles. but that steady, consiste caring adult in their life can really make the world of difference both in the short term and in terms of their long-term life trajectory. so very significant impact with
a program that really is very simple in terms of the way it's carried out. >> i want to bing in tom into the picture. your day job is at the gap at executive vice president and chief information offic. and you volunteer with big brothers a big sisters. i know that you spend a t of hours there. >> i do. >> it's really important to you. >> it is, yes. i've been involved with big brothers/big sistersor about 25 years now as a big brother. i've worked in our school-based mentoring program in different parts of the united states, i've served on boards in different cities around the united states and i've been involved in the bay area for almost four years now. d the chair as kathy came in as our ceo a little over a year and a half ago. >> what kinds of mentors are you looking for right no >> we're looking for all kinds. we have a waiting list righ now of roughly 800 littles or prospective littles. the majority of that list is
primarily males, primarily african-american and hispanic yout that are waiting to be matched up with a caring and dedicated and consistent adult. >> you talked about matching. there's a fee for that, right? $2,500? which sounds like a lot of money, but there's a lot of work that goes into checking the backgrounds of people. >> the $2,500 per match i really basically money we raise through charitable means to help support that match. all of our matches are supported by professioal trained social work staff o our staff throughout the five bay area counties. when a match originally gets established, tse mentors are trained very rigorously by our staff. and then on an ongoing basis they receive coacng and support in order to help ensure that the match moves in a healthy fashion and that that relationship sustains over time.
>> so ease parents' concerns, how do you screen people? >> very rigorous screening. >> background checks? >> we have strong national standar that we implement locally. yes, there are a variety of background checks that are done in terms of potential iminal records or driving records and a whole host of other things. and then weo a rigorous reference check of those prospective mentors as well as in-depth interviews. >> is there a mimum age? >> nimum age is 21. >> tom, your bay area chapter doesn't get any national funding, right? so this has to be a challenge in getting all the money you need to keepthe program going. >> it is, yes. part of me agreeing to take the chair position on the board and as we recruited kathy in was we really wanted to get after serving more children in the bay area. and that comes through raising more funds. p each year we start over effectively with zero on the board, and we've got to go find
the fundg. it's a huge focus for our board of directors and the agency as a whole, to find the avens of funding so that we can double our number of children we're serving. >> you mentioned you were a big broter yourself many years ago. what do you remember about that? >> yes. i remember being very apprehensive initially, as i stepped into it. i didn't feel like i was bringing the skills that were necessary to be a really good ment. but what i found was by being there, just being csistent adult and doing activities that i would have normally done, i was able to learn a lot from woing with a child in need but also to provide a lot from a consistency standpoint, from a confidence standpoint, from a helping provide guidance standpoint. i was with a tenth grade boy who was trying to work his way through where and what he wanted to do with his life. s he really college material
sullenberger, a community advocate who coincidentally happens to be married to the hero of the hudson captain sully sullenberger. lo lori, you are here today to talk about meant rg. you have been an amazing mentor. i want to talk to you about, you were with big brothers and big sisters for almost 30 years. that's amazing. >> yeah. >> how did you get involved? >> i don't know how to happened. it was in 1984, and i was in my early 20s. i had grown up in a home that wasn't always very stable, and i had an alcoholic parent. i had come out the other side and felt like i had done well and i felt like it w my responsibility to give back and to share with someone else things that i had learned. so i had looked around and i felt like one-on-one mntoring was really the best match for me. so i went to big brother big sister and was interviewed. it was a lengthy process and they spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best matc for you. eventually, i was matched with a
little girl named sarah, 4 years old at the time. >> it's different now for the ages. >> right. the children are older. i'm not exactly sure. it might be 8. at the time she was especially young. she was about to turn 5, but she was 4 when we got matched. >> that's so young. >> yeah. i would have been in over my head with a teenager so it was good. >> you weren't married at the time. >> i was not. we had -- we started out we had a standingate every friday night. we went to tacoria and spent our time. and we fell in love. it was just the perfect match. i don't know, something about the dynamics. i joke it was the perfect match.com match, that everything was just right. >> at the time youived in walnut creek and she lived in valle vallejo. but then you moved to the peninsula. >> right. about a year and a half later i met and married sully and i moved to belmont. her mom was always really good about allowing us to visit. it wasn't the normal an hour a week at the same time.
i would go get her and she would come for vacations and hidays and weekends. i alwys felt that time in the car was a really great time that you could actually talk and share. it's th one-on-one private time in the car. so i didn't really mind it. it was fun. >> joining us via skype right now is your little sarah all the way from new jersey. nice to have you with us. >> hello! >> hi. >> thank you. >> lori is telling me you were her little with the big brothers big sisters. >> yeah. >> she met you when you were 4 years old. >> yeah. had a very special bo. >> tell us about it. >> my mom had araumatic brain injury when i was young, and it left her a little bit irresponsible. she basically had a 21-year-old mentality for most of my childhood. >> so when you met lori at the age of 4, she was a young single woman herself. >> she was, but i never -- it wasn't a good comparison.
she was in a different place in her life than my momwas. she was definitely more responsible. she was more stable. >> and you spent a lot of holidays with her. she mentioned something about friday night tacos. >> yes. we used to go to the tacoria. it was my favorite restaurant. still is. we actually visited the last time i was in lifornia. >> and then the holidays, too, were a big part of your life. >> yeah. well, my mom's jewish so she allowed me to go with lori for most of the christian holidays. i spent just about every christmas and easter and anytime lori let me take her my mom usually let her. >> how much of a differece do you think lori made in your life? >> huge. i probably would hve been lost without her. she gave me someone to be accountable to, you know, wen my parents weren't necessarily holding me accountable for my actions. lori did. >> let me talk to lori abut that. >> sure. >> oh, she's got tears in her
eyes. you had to set boundaries for her. >> i did. you know, recently we were asked about this, and i -- when they aed her what made our relationship special, i thought she was going to say the trips to disneyland and carving pumpkins. and she said, you know, she set boundaries and she expected me to li within those boundaries, and she said now, of course, that's coming from an ault mother. and she can see the value in boundaries and that that's love, really, that that's setting love for your children. and i expected her to do well so she wanted to do well. she wanted to please me. but it was funny. at the time when she first said it, i kept saying, but remember disneyland? aren't you going to tlk about that? i really appreciate the fact that she realized that. but she had great potential. she has great common sense and a great work ethic. i knew she could do well in life so i expected her to. >> thank you so much for joining us today. appreciate it. she is so successful.
she has a couple of kids now? >> she does. she has three sons, and she is just -- i tell her as much as i can, she is the greatest mother. like i said, the one thing i wanted was for her to break the cycle and for it to be different for her children. and she has exceeded my wildest expectations on that. she is just a fabulous mom. she's had a long-term marriage, very succeful marriage, and i could not be more proud of her. really, i do break out in tears every time i see her or talk about this because she's just been such a joy for our whole family. not just for me, my daughters and my husband. >> you have two daughters in addition so -- >> she was the big sister. they have a special relationship they can share with her that they wouldn't share with me perhaps. she is just a part of our family now. >> and you have changed so many lives by being aart of this big brothers big sisters program. >> well, i just wanted to change one life. >> but look what you've done.
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welcom back to "beyond the headlines." we've been talking about the importance of being a mentor and the value being a mentor can add to our live here in the studio with me right now from 100 black men of the bay area is muhammad naderi, the vice chair of the board of directors. so nic to have you here. >> thank you for having me. >> we've been chatting during the break. love what you all are doing. i wnt to know for you personally, why is mentoring so important and why especially young black men? >> well, our organization 100 black men inhe bay area, all of our members have been beneficiaries of mentoring. my story is very similar to otr folks' stories in terms of you had somebody who shepherded you through, whetr it was high school, college or early career, somebody who took an interest in what you were doing and said, let me help you out. the only thing that we were asked in return is, number one, do the best we can and then number tw when it's our turn
and we have the opportunity we do the same thing. that's why meant rg is so important to us a why we focus on it at 100 black men. >> you have so many different programs. community school program, junior 100 and collegiate 100 >> yes. >> tell me about the collegiate. >> the collegiate 100 is something we started with the university of calornia at berkeley. we had some members who are graduates of that school, the university, and we're like, when i was in college, it would have been helpful if we had a connection to our local chapter. so we started a collegiate 100 where we identified students at the university who wereed in wh doing, interested in potentily in the future becoming a member of the 100 after they've kind of gone through their professional career. and said, how do we start making linkages? the linkage for us was a natural one because we could say, not only can we mentor them, they canlso help us mentor the kids in high school. because you have tutoring and you have just kind of -- some of
our members, we're in our 30s, 40s, 50s, when a high school student seesus, they're like, that's a bit far of for me. maybe i can find somebody who's been in their la teens, early 20s. it was a natural linkage. we've kind of rolled that out for the national 100 where we have other chapters doing the same thing at colleges in their area. >> you are meanting somebody. you started in the nin great with them? >> yeah. really back in 2004, he's now in dental school. i've kind of watched him grow up. he's watched me grow up. we actually have become really good friends. 's in his early 20s now. it's interesting to see his perspective. >> it's amazing. you've made such a difference in his life. you're a new dad so that will be a great experience for your baby girl. >> it is. >> before we run out of time, i want to ask you about, who do you want to join 100 black men? who do you want to help? >> we have two ways.
we want members who want to join the 100 black men in the bay area themselves, african-american male professionals, public/private sector who have a commitment to improving the community and focusing on menting and the issues that really target our community and are important to us. we also want to hve folks at a sponsorship level maybe you don't have the time to be the full member, but the wo we're doing you think is important so you sponsor us. visit our web site, reach out to our board, definitely contact us and we will welcome you. >> with that, we're going to make sure w post all of your information on our web site. >> thank you. >> thank you so much and thank you for the work you're doing. >> thank you. >> and we do have to take a short break. when we come back, we're going to hear about a unique program in marin county that helps formerly incarcerated young man learn a path to success. stay with me. i'll be right back.
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critical importance of having positive role models. joining me is felicia gaston of the phoenix project and one of the program participant felicia, you and i have been friend for a long time. >> a very long time. happy to be ouhrough performing stars which works with much younger children. >> questiyes. >> you started the phoenix program to start young men like gentleman car jacari. >> it's based in marin city and four years ago our community was experiencing lots of high crime. it was affecting so many people. a every time you picked up the newspaper it talked about young black males robbing people underneath the underpass at the bus stop. it just wasn't a message we wanted to get out. it was just very important to bring resources right into the area where our young men were hanging out. blic housing, which is called
the 2 a lot and the phoenix project started right then. >> we're looking at some images of some of your young men doing a variety jobs through the phoenix project. i was happy to cover that story, too. >> yeah. it was so exciting, especially to see that phoenix project focuses on connecting them with all types of resources so they can get the proper skills so they can be employable. we provide all the types of services if they need their driver's license, if they need their -- just access tohe meaningful resources available in marin county. we've been able to really help so many of them, and also many of them we're helping in school and helping them go to college in marin. just being a great advocate. >> you really are. jacari, you're nodding your head as she runs through this list of wonderful things. so you had a bit of a rough start to life. tell me a little bit aboutthat. >> well, i zbgrou u grew up in
california. i was in juvenile hall. i moved over to marin. i was on probation, i been on probation since i was 12, finally about to get off. >> and you're 26 now? >> 26 now >> that's a long time. >> yes. long time. thanks to the phoenix project, i always say that they savedy life. phoenix project did a lot to me, to help me get into construction, things like that. >> now, prot jekt actually does a lot. i'm looking at you had to become drug free and get your driver's license. >> yes. >> we have images of you at work. that of course cost money. who paid for that? >> the phoenix program helped me pay for that through the probion department. >> tell me about the probation department. >> well, what's so great about the probation department in marin county is that they identified jacari as an example of someone that they felt would make a big difference. if he changed his life, then others say they can move in that direction. sohey paid the union dues,
which is $800, maybe a little more than that, and they also provided the support along with the phoenix project so he cld attend northern california labor training program in san ramon. it was a three-week program. he and another participa stayed in san ramon for three weeks. agn, probation department prided the union fees and then we provided all the extra support services, the uniforms as needed, the boots. >> the hard hat. >> the hard hat. not only that, when they stayed at the campus, ty needed to have food because the local grocery stores. phoenix project supported that. >> that's fantastic. before we run out of time, i want to talk about the meeting you had with michel obama's brother. we have some images of your kids meeting him. you went to image for success to get everybody all dolled up. >> yeah. they we so pleased.
when they knew they had a chance to meet mhelle obama's brother craig robinson at dominican college, theyjust got prepared and image for success provided all of their clothing, and we went to see him. he was promoting his bock. each of them received an autographed copy of the book. what's most important is that phoenix project is a prevention program, too, so man of our participants are not -- have been fed with the legal system, but we also have a majority of them that have. so our goal is to help guide them to be productive members of society. >> jacari, we've run out of time, but i want to congratulate you on all your success. >> thank you, thank you very much. >> thank you for being here. unfortunaty we have run out of time. my thanks to all of our wonderful guests today you can get more information on our web site. our web site. have a great week. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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